Keys to Writing Impact Statements

Why submit an impact statement?

Since our research, education and Extension work is publicly supported, we have an obligation to report a measurable difference each program makes or can potentially make.

A well-written impact statement shows public accountability, your response to an issue and collaboration. It can be a tracking system for your project, offer a brief update, show return on investment and support future funding requests.

Impact statements fulfill state and federal reporting needs.

What are the primary sections of an impact statement?

Situation: What is the issue? Who cares and why?

Response: What has been done? Summarize your program, project or response to the issue.

Results/impact: How has your response affected the users/stakeholders involved with this issue?

How can I write an effective impact statement?

  • Answer the question, “So what?”
  • Show a measurable change in:
    • Economic value or efficiency
    • Environmental quality
    • Social well-being
    • Health and well-being
  • Estimate the potential impact
    • Who are the most likely benefactors?
    • When do you expect outcome and why?
  • Relate anecdotes
    • What works for one person may work for many
  • Build in evaluation of your programs by using
    • Pre- and post-tests
    • Surveys
  • Know what you want to measure: Is it a decrease in participants’ blood cholesterol or an increase in crop yield?
  • Build around issues, not events: 70% of participants met their savings goals, not 34 people attended the meeting.
  • Don’t exaggerate your results, don’t claim undue credit and include the negatives to present a balanced report.
  • Use most of your words talking about impact and fewer words outlining your process. Impact is the most important part.

How are impact statements used?

  • Use impact statements in reports to the public, funding sources, elected officials and special audiences such as media contacts or agribusiness people.
  • Supplement funding requests for future projects with previous impact statements to show successful results.
  • Journalists in various media outlets like the brief, to-the-point style of impact statements as well as the ability to search the database geographically, by author and by topic on the search page.
  • Impact statements add specific results to quarterly and annual reports.


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